As the federal government prepares to address the gig economy in the next phase of its industrial relations reform process, Uber has joined industry peers in making a joint submission to the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations that outlines a shared vision for reform that will raise the bar for Australia’s gig workers.

Work looks vastly different today than it did even a decade ago, and it is clear that new legislation is required to adequately address the realities of Australia’s modern workforce. And this is true for the gig economy – a significant contributor to productivity and Australia’s GDP – that we have been proud to play a role in creating.

The current reform process represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a stronger, more secure gig economy that provides workers greater benefits and protections, while protecting the flexibility we know they value. 

A recent survey found that flexibility is crucial to rideshare and delivery drivers, with nine in 10 saying they would not keep driving or delivering if that flexibility did not exist. This autonomy is the cornerstone of a thriving gig economy, and it’s imperative new legislation preserves the rights of gig workers to earn on their own terms, while also creating an earnings safety net and other protections. As the reform process continues into 2023, it’s critical these workers have a voice in the consultation process alongside rideshare and delivery platforms.

That’s why as an industry we’re coming together to advocate for five critical reform components that will ensure a better outcome for rideshare drivers and delivery people:

  1. Reform at a national level: We believe all Australian gig workers deserve to benefit from improved standards and minimum protections, rather than rely on a patchwork of laws on a state-by-state level.
  2. Fit-for-purpose legislation: We want gig economy reform enshrined into a new law or as an amendment to the Independent Contractors Act, the most relevant piece of existing legislation that addresses the unique realities of gig work.
  3. Preserving flexibility: New legislation must maintain the existing definitions of “independent contractors” and “employees” – this is a critical distinction that enables digital platforms to create flexible earning opportunities for gig workers.
  4. Creating safety nets: New legislation must establish protections for gig workers, including a fit-for-purpose minimum earnings standard.
  5. Freedom of association: Under existing laws, independent contractors have the right to decide whether or not they join a union – this freedom of association is fundamental and must be preserved in legislation. 

This joint submission builds on our agreement from earlier this year with the Transport Workers Union, where we set out key principles for reform, including a minimum earnings standard and other protections that will benefit gig workers while maintaining the flexibility of platform work. 

We look forward to meaningful consultation with the Government as we reimagine a gig economy that works for everyone.